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Joe Rogan Controversy, Saying “No”, & National Geographic

By: Michael Blankenship |

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

– Steve Jobs

Greetings from LA and Hawaii!

This week we’re sharing our thoughts on the Joe Rogan controversy (as well as an overview if you’re unfamiliar with what’s going on), discussing the importance of saying “no”, and musing about how awesome National Geographic is for the life-long learner. 


Joe Rogan Controversy

Lately, mainstream media outlets have made it seem like lots of people are mad at Joe Rogan — but it’s hard to know how many people are actually mad considering the notorious dishonesty of these outlets. 

Still, the debate has ruffled feathers. 

The Joe Rogan Experience launched in 2009 and has over 1,700 episodes. The show gets over 190 million downloads per month. 

In May 2020, Spotify acquired The Joe Rogan Experience for $100 million, making the podcast exclusive to its platform.

The controversy was initially triggered by Neil Young removing his music from Spotify as a way to protest against “misinformation” about the vaccine being spread on Joe Rogan’s podcast. 

Since then, India Arie and Graham Nash have withdrawn their music from Spotify. Compilation videos of Joe Rogan saying the N-word and seemingly referring to stepping into a Black neighborhood as stepping into “the Planet of the Apes” have also surfaced — however, all of the content has been taken out of context to make it as damning as possible. 

Rogan has released multiple videos apologizing for his content and sharing ways that he’s going to improve his content going forward — which includes having more guests from both sides of the fence on his show as well as being more careful with his language. 

It’s an interesting debate. 

Obviously, Joe Rogan has a lot of influence. And as Peter Parker’s uncle once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

At the same time, anyone who listens to The Joe Rogan Experience knows that the backlash is mostly unfounded — Rogan might say some off-color things from time to time. But who doesn’t?

When it’s unfiltered, human communication is always a little clunky. 

And ever since Rogan came out with his clearly authentic apologies, it seems like the conversation should come to a stop. 

After all, If we accuse someone of something and we’re unwilling to accept their authentic apology, then it reveals a bigger problem with us than it does with them.

If you want to read more about this, here are some resources…

Saying “No”

How often do you tell people “no”? 

Probably not often enough. 

In fact, James Clear calls “No” the ultimate productivity hack

He explains…

How often do people ask you to do something and you just reply, “Sure thing.” Three days later, you’re overwhelmed by how much is on your to-do list. We become frustrated by our obligations even though we were the ones who said yes to them in the first place.

It’s worth asking if things are necessary. Many of them are not, and a simple “no” will be more productive than whatever work the most efficient person can muster.

He continues…

Saying no is an important skill to develop at any stage of your career because it retains the most important asset in life: your time. As the investor Pedro Sorrentino put it, “If you don’t guard your time, people will steal it from you.”


But you probably know you need to say “No” more often. 

The question is… how do you say “no”?

Here’s what James Clear suggests…

Most of us are probably too quick to say yes and too slow to say no. It’s worth asking yourself where you fall on that spectrum.

If you have trouble saying no, you may find the following strategy proposed by Tim Harford, the British economist I mentioned earlier, to be helpful. He writes, “One trick is to ask, “If I had to do this today, would I agree to it?” It’s not a bad rule of thumb, since any future commitment, no matter how far away it might be, will eventually become an imminent problem.”

If an opportunity is exciting enough to drop whatever you’re doing right now, then it’s a yes. If it’s not, then perhaps you should think twice.

This is similar to the well-known “Hell Yeah or No” method from Derek Sivers. If someone asks you to do something and your first reaction is “Hell Yeah!”, then do it. If it doesn’t excite you, then say no.

National Geographic

Want to know if micro-dosing psychedelics can boost mental health? Or why Everest’s highest glacier has lost 2,000 years’ worth of ice in 30 years? Or how certain Bolivian skateboarders use indigenous attire to battle discrimination

National Geographic is a publication that’s bursting with answers to interesting questions. 

We highly recommend bookmarking their homepage and checking back every once in a while. 

Oh — and if you’re looking for an awesome trip to take in 2023, check this out.

Extra Stuff

Here is some other random stuff we found interesting this last week!

This Week’s Photo

Rick Bowmer / AP

“The Great Salt Lake is seen in the background of the earthwork Spiral Jetty, by Robert Smithson, on February 1, 2022, near Rozel Point, Utah.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

Which of the following is correct: 1) Ostrich can fly, or 2) Ostriches can fly?

This Week’s Question

Answer this question — either privately or by replying to this email. If your answer inspires us, then we’ll ask for permission to include it in a future email!

What is something you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve never done?

This Week’s Challenge

After answering this week’s question, put it on the schedule for 2022! Life is too short to procrastinate on doing things that we really want to do. 

Until next week, 

Mike & Alec

Riddle Answer: Neither because ostriches can’t fly.

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